Archive for the 'Peregrines' Category

Mar 17 2017

Why Is She Shouting? and Other News

Hope shouts at Terzo, 2:20pm 15 Mar 2017 (screenshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope shouts at Terzo, 2:20pm 15 Mar 2017 (screenshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Ever since the female peregrine at Pitt laid her first egg on March 15 lots of people have been watching her on camera. The first question on everyone’s mind has been, “Why is she shouting?!?”

Indeed, Hope spent a lot of time shouting at the top of her lungs on Wednesday.  Here’s just a tiny dose of her voice.

She’s always been a vocal bird but this is over the top.  People can hear her inside the Cathedral of Learning and as far away as O’Hara Street behind Soldiers and Sailors Hall.  Peter Bell @PittPeregrines said, “She’s so loud you can hear her over all the traffic!”

So why is she shouting?

I don’t know but I can tell you what was happening off camera.

Before Hope began shouting, she and her mate Terzo were communicating softly over the egg and bowing in courtship.  (Note!  This behavior is a happy thing. It is not fighting.)

After he bowed, Terzo flew up to a perch above the camera about six feet away from the egg.  Hope looked right at him and began shouting.  When he flew away she shut up and sat down on the egg.  When he came back she resumed shouting.

Peregrine shouting, also called wailing, means “I want [____] to change.”  None of us speak ‘peregrine’ so we don’t know what’s in that blank.

 

In Other News:

Hope was silent on Thursday March 16 because she was busy chasing off an unbanded female intruder.  The intruder visited the nest twice and even bowed with Terzo at 12:24pm.

In the video below you can hear Terzo and the visitor chirping for 30 seconds before Terzo jumps into the nest.  Look carefully at the female and you’ll see she resembles a bird who visited three times last year: April 8, August 2 and November 14.

 

Will this be a quiet nesting season at the Cathedral of Learning?  No.

Watch the nest on the National Aviary falconcam at the University of Pittsburgh … and be ready to press the mute button.

 

p.s. Here’s information on what happens when intruders show up: Peregrine Fidelity to Their Mates, Fighting.

p.p.s  Three eggs at the Pitt nest as of Monday morning, March 20.

(screenshot and videos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh streamed by Wildearth.tv)

19 responses so far

Mar 15 2017

First Peregrine Egg at Pitt

Published by under Peregrines

Hope appreas to be looking at her first egg of 2017 (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope looking at her first egg of 2017, 15 Mar 6:35am (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Early this morning it looked like Hope has laid her first egg of 2017 this morning around 6:30am.  We waited for her to stand up … just to be sure.

How did I guess that she had an egg?  Because she’s lying flat on the scrape to keep it warm on this 14oF morning!

Hope is keeping something warm in the nest ... the first egg, 15 Mar 2017 (photo from the Naitonal Aviary snapshot cam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope is keeping something warm in the nest … the first egg, 15 Mar 2017 (photo from the Naitonal Aviary snapshot cam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Click here to watch her on the National Aviary falconcam at the Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh.

 

(photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ. of Pittsburgh)

49 responses so far

Mar 14 2017

Nesting in a Snow Storm

Peregrine incubating in a snow storm, Harrisburg, PA, 14 Mar 2017, 6:00am (snapshot from the DEP Falcon Cam)

Peregrine incubating eggs during snow storm, Harrisburg, PA, 14 Mar 2017, 6:00am (snapshot from the DEP Falcon Cam)

One of Pennsylvania’s peregrine falcon families has a big challenge today.  They’re incubating three eggs in Harrisburg where the “Nor’easter” will bring 9 to 13 inches of snow and blustery winds until 10pm tonight.

Their nest is on a ledge of the Rachel Carson Building where four cameras provide live streams of their activity. Two snapshots taken before dawn show there was already a lot of snow at 6am.   Below, a view from the closeup camera.

Peregrine incubating in a snow storm, Harrisburg, PA, 14 Mar 2017, 6:00am (snapshot from the DEP Falcon Cam)

Peregrine incubating in a snow storm, Harrisburg, PA, 14 Mar 2017, 6:00am (snapshot from the PA Falcon Cam)

The situation looks awful to us but it’s all in a day’s work for peregrine falcons.  Here’s why:

  • Snow is a normal challenge during the nesting season.  Peregrines lay eggs in late winter so that their young will hatch when food is plentiful during spring migration. There are many stories of successful peregrine nests after blizzards in the Snow Belt. Ask folks from Cleveland, Ohio and Rochester, New York about their peregrines!
  • Feathers provide excellent insulation.  These birds are wearing down “coats” underneath their smooth body feathers.  Notice the unmelted snow on the female’s back.  This is good!
  • The brood patch (bare skin on their bellies) keeps the eggs quite warm.

During a brief respite in the snowfall, the female peregrine stood up at 6:25am.  You can see that her body has kept the nest free of snow.  Don’t worry, she was back on those eggs within 30 seconds!

The peregrines' nest has been kept warm, 14 Mar 2017, 6:25am (photo from the DEP Falcon Cam in Harriburg, PA)

The peregrines’ nest has been kept warm, 14 Mar 2017, 6:25am (photo from the PA Falcon Cam in Harriburg, PA)

Click any one of the photos above to go directly to the Live PA Falcon Cam or click here for the complete website.

Meanwhile, here in Pittsburgh we have no snow at all.

 

(snapshots from the PA Falcon Cam in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)

p.s. Why are the time stamps different on the Harrisburg cameras? The wide-angle PA Falcon Cam is on Eastern Standard Time (EST); the closeup camera is on Daylight Saving Time (EDT).

4 responses so far

Mar 08 2017

First Egg at the Gulf Tower, 2017

Dori with her first egg of 2017, Gulf Tower, 8 March 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Dori with her first egg of 2017, Gulf Tower, 8 March 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Dori laid her first egg of 2017 at the Gulf Tower this morning (8 March 2017) at 8:29am.

Hooray, she chose the Gulf Tower!

Closeup of Dori with her first egg of 2017, Gulf Tower, 8 March 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Closeup of Dori with her first egg of 2017, Gulf Tower, 8 March 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Click here to watch her on camera.

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

46 responses so far

Mar 06 2017

Changing Their Minds?

Published by under Peregrines

One of the Downtown peregrines perched on Third Avenue, 2 March 2017, 4:00pm (photo by Lori Maggio)

One of the Downtown peregrines at Third Avenue, 2 March 2017, 4:00pm (photo by Lori Maggio)

Are the Downtown peregrines changing their minds about where they want to nest?

In February they spent a lot of time courting at the Gulf Tower, so much so that Downtown monitor Lori Maggio said they were completely absent from their other nest site on Third Avenue.  She captured this photo of Dori perched at the Gulf Tower during that period.  (The triangular shape and tube are the nest box roof and perch.)

Dori at the Gulf Tower, as seen from the ground, February 2017 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Dori at the Gulf Tower, as seen from the ground, February 2017 (photo by Lori Maggio)

On Thursday March 2 Dori was at the Gulf nest before dawn but later that day, at 4:00pm, Lori found a peregrine near the Third Avenue nest (photo at top). It was the first time they’d been there since February 17.

And the next day, they were both at the Third Avenue site at noon when Lori took this photo of Dori leaving the nest area.

Dori at the Third Ave nest, 3 March 2017 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Dori at the Third Ave nest, 3 March 2017 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Why do they visit the Gulf Tower nest if they aren’t going to use it?

Will they come back to Gulf?  We’ll find out this month.

 

(photos by Lori Maggio)

10 responses so far

Mar 01 2017

Everything You Wanted to Know About Pittsburgh’s Peregrines

Published by under Peregrines

Comparison: Terzo and Hope, faces and malar stripes, Spring 2016

Comparison: Terzo and Hope, faces and malar stripes, Spring 2016

As Pittsburgh’s peregrine nesting season ramps up, here’s a resource guide for falconcam viewers.  It’s everything you wanted to know and much, much more.

Who is who on camera?

  • Click on the photo above for tips on identifying Hope and Terzo on the Cathedral of Learning falconcam.
  • Click on the photo below for identification tips on Dori and Louie on the Gulf Tower falconcam.
  • Though I’ve provided band numbers the bands are very hard to see.  Use the tips!
Dori and Louie size comparison with band numbers

Dori and Louie size comparison with band numbers

Frequently Asked Questions: FAQs about Peregrines

Do you wonder …

  • Why are they bowing?
  • When will they lay eggs?  How will we know it’s nearly laying time?
  • Why doesn’t the nest have sticks in it?
  • How many nest sites are there in the Pittsburgh area and where?
  • Is there any news of the offspring from these nests?
  • and more …

These questions and many more are answered at the Peregrine FAQs link.  If you lose track of today’s blog post you can always find the FAQs on the navigation bar at the top … here … !

location of Peregrine FAQs link

We’re ready now. Let the season begin!

 

p.s. There are two cameras at Pitt. The second one only shows snapshots but gives you another view of the Cathedral of Learning nest.

(photos from the National Aviary falconcams at Cathedral of Learning and Gulf Tower)

9 responses so far

Feb 26 2017

Closer To Nesting

Published by under Peregrines

Hope roosts near the nest, 26 Feb 2017 (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope roosting near the nest, 5:18am, 26 Feb 2017 (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

As nesting season approaches female birds often roost close to their future nest sites.  Last night two of Pittsburgh’s peregrines did just that.

Above, Hope roosts at the front of the Cathedral of Learning nest box.  Below, Dori sleeps on the perch near the Gulf Tower nest.

Dori near the Gulf Tower nest, 26 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Dori near the Gulf Tower nest, 5:22am, 26 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

“Close” to the nest is literally true. Neither bird is actually in it.

The peregrine’s nest is a bowl scraped in dust, gravel or dirt on a high cliff ledge. The bowl’s shape prevents the eggs from rolling off the cliff and provides an edge to keep in the heat during incubation.  Both the male and female help make the nest by hunkering down in the scrape and kicking the gravel back and out with their feet.

At the Gulf Tower there are two scrapes to choose from. In the photo below Dori is standing up to her ankles in the left one.

Two deep scrapes at the Gulf Tower nestbox (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Two deep scrapes at the Gulf Tower nestbox (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

The first eggs at these nests are typically laid between March 12 and March 20.  Watch for them online at the National Aviary’s Cathedral of Learning falconcam and the Gulf Tower falconcam.

However, keep in mind that Dori is fickle about her Downtown nest site.  Last year she paid a lot of attention to the Gulf Tower but disappeared on March 12 to nest at Third Avenue.  I hope she’ll stay at Gulf this year.

The one thing we do know is that peregrines are closer to nesting when they stay close to the nest.

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcams at the University of Pittsburgh and the Gulf Tower)

4 responses so far

Feb 20 2017

A Selection of Nests: Downtown Peregrines in 2016

Published by under Peregrines

Dori at the left-hand scrape at the Gulf Tower, 6:58am, 20 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Dori at the Gulf Tower, pre-dawn, 20 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

2016 was another successful nesting year for the Downtown Pittsburgh peregrine falcons even though they didn’t choose the Gulf Tower nestcam site.

Click here or on the photo above for a slideshow of 2016 highlights.

Which nest site will Dori and Louie pick this year?

Dori was at the Gulf Tower this morning (above).

Stay tuned.

 

(slideshow photos by the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower, Peter Bell, Matt Digiacomo, John English, Ann Hohn, Lori Maggio and Amanda McGuire)

12 responses so far

Feb 12 2017

Foggy Morning At The Gulf Tower

Published by under Peregrines

Peregrine perched at the Gulf Tower nest before dawn, 12 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Peregrine perched at the Gulf Tower nest before dawn, 12 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

This morning at dawn I saw a peregrine falcon at the Gulf Tower nest. It was 7:20am.

Then she woke up and…

Peregrine perched at the Gulf Tower nest before dawn, 12 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Peregrine perched at the Gulf Tower nest before dawn, 12 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Peregrine perched at the Gulf Tower nest before dawn, 12 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Peregrine perched at the Gulf Tower nest before dawn, 12 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

gone

gone …

I think the bird was Dori, the female of the Downtown pair.

 

There’s nothing to watch right now but if you’d like to check on the nest, here’s the link to the Gulf Tower falconcam.

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at the Gulf Tower)

 

One response so far

Feb 09 2017

Peregrine Season Is Warming Up

Published by under Peregrines

Peregrine at the Gulf Tower nest, 7 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Peregrine at the Gulf Tower nest, 7 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

The weather turned cold and snowy last night but Pittsburgh’s peregrines are warming up for nesting.  Here’s the news from nest sites around our area.

Downtown Pittsburgh:

The Downtown peregrines own the entire city with many potential nest sites from the rivers to the Hill District.  This week they’ve been visiting the Gulf Tower nest.  That doesn’t mean they’ll nest there but it does mean they haven’t rejected the idea so we have our fingers crossed.  Watch for peregrine activity at their three known nest sites to get a clue as to which site they’ll choose next month: Gulf Tower (on camera), Third Avenue between Smithfield and Wood Streets, and Fifth Avenue at Scrip Way.   As far as we know this pair is still Louie and Dori, but things could change.

Cathedral of Learning:

Hope and Terzo courting at the Cathedral of Learning, 7 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope and Terzo courting at the Cathedral of Learning, 7 Feb 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope and Terzo have been courting in flight and on camera at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning.  Hope often visits the nest alone and calls to Terzo to join her.  They’re warming up to egg laying next month.

McKees Rocks Bridge:

Peregrine at the McKees Rocks Bridge, 30 Jan 2017 (photo by Leslie Ferree)

Peregrine at the McKees Rocks Bridge, 30 Jan 2017 (photo by Leslie Ferree)

Peregrines are usually hard to see at the McKees Rocks Bridge but Leslie Ferree got lucky.  She saw one perched on the bridge abutment on January 30, above, and on the bridge structure on January 25.  Maybe the pair will be more visible this year.

Neville Island I-79 Bridge:

Anne Marie Bosnyak reports that two peregrines were perched on a tree near the Neville Island Bridge on January 29. The pair at this site are Magnum and Beau, confirmed in May 2015.  However, that could change. Magnum tried to claim the Cathedral of Learning last June.

Tarentum Bridge:

Rob Protz reported two peregrines perched on the up-river navigation lights on the evening of January 29.  Who are these birds?  We don’t know.  The male is definitely a mystery.  The female, however, is sometimes Hope who visits her old home at the Tarentum Bridge.  We’re hoping for photographs of the Tarentum birds so we can read their bands.

Watch for peregrines at these nine sites in western Pennsylvania.  Let me know what you see!

  1. Downtown Pittsburgh
  2. Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh
  3. Westinghouse Bridge, Allegheny County
  4. McKees Rocks Bridge, Allegheny County
  5. Neville Island I-79 Bridge, Allegheny County
  6. Monaca-E.Rochester Bridge, Beaver County
  7. Tarentum Bridge, Allegheny-Westmoreland County
  8. The Graff Bridge, Route 422 Kittanning, Armstrong County
  9. Erie, PA Waterfront, Erie County

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcams at the Gulf Tower and University of Pittsburgh, McKees Rocks photo by Leslie Ferree)

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